Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme

The purpose of the scheme, which commenced on 10 December 2018, is to provide the public with visibility of the nature, level and extent of foreign influence on Australia's government and politics.

Broadly speaking, any person is required to register if:

  • they undertake registrable activities or enter into a registrable arrangement, and
  • the activity is, or will be undertaken in Australia on behalf of a foreign principal, and
  • the activity is undertaken for the purpose of political or governmental influence, and
  • no exemptions apply.

A foreign principal includes:

  • a foreign government
  • a foreign political organisation
  • a foreign government related entity
  • a foreign government related individual.

Registrable activities include:

  • parliamentary lobbying
  • general political lobbying
  • communications activities
  • disbursement activity (payment of money or things of value).

Whether an activity is registrable depends on a combination of factors:

  • the identity of the person undertaking the activity
  • the identity of the foreign principal
  • the nature of the relationship between the foreign principal and the person undertaking the activity, and
  • the nature and purpose of the activity.

How do I know if this scheme applies to me?

If your University work involves a foreign academic, organisation, institution or government, you may be engaged in an activity that should be registered under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS). To comply with the FITS, the University of Newcastle may need to register your activity or arrangement with the Australian Government*.

Not all foreign engagements need to be registered, but there are some relationships which the Australian Government believes must be declared and made transparent to the Australian community. Registration of activities or arrangements identified under the Scheme safeguards the national interest.

Registration does not mean that you have to change what you are doing. It just means that there will be a public record of your engagement and you will satisfy your legal obligation to be up front about the purpose of any relevant foreign relationships.

Your need to register will be determined by the nature and purpose of:

  • The activity or the arrangement - and whether it has the intent or potential to influence a government or political decision; and
  • The foreign entity or person - and whether it is considered a "foreign principal" under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act.

The information and resources provided on this website will help you understand the specific requirements of the FITS and what information is needed to determine if the University has an obligation to register activities on your behalf*. Additional FITS resources are available on website of the Attorney-General's Department.

*Please note that if registration is necessary this process must be completed within 14 days.

For further information on the foreign influence transparency scheme, see the following links:

https://transparency.ag.gov.au

https://www.ag.gov.au/integrity/foreign-influence-transparency-scheme

https://www.ag.gov.au/integrity/foreign-influence-transparency-scheme/fits-resources

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.